COUNTRY LINES Cherryland Electric Cooperative
Future Dark Without New Generation
Top Headlines From 2020 Co-op Cleans Up The TART Trail
TEN T I M E H MEETS T
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Contents Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives
November/December 2020 Vol. 40, No. 10
EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS.
Association Officers: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.
CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 firstname.lastname@example.org CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.
The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.
Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation
(Required by U.S.C. 3685) 1. Publication: Michigan Country Lines. 2. Publication No.: 591-710. 3. Filing date: 10/1/20. 4. Issue frequency: monthly, except Aug. and Dec. 5. No. of issues published annually: 10. 6. Complete mailing address of office of publication: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 7. Complete mailing address of headquarters of publisher: 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 8. Full names and complete mailing address of publisher, editors, and executive editor: Craig Borr, Christine Dorr, Casey Clark, 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 9. Owner: Michigan Electric Cooperative Assoc., 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 10. Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding 1% or more of total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: None. 11. Tax status: has not been changed. 12. Issue date for circulation data: Sept. 2020. 13. Extent and nature of circulation: Avg # of copies Actual # of copies of single issues each issue during preceding 12 mo. published nearest to ﬁling date A) B) C) D) E) F) G) H) I)
Total No. of copies................................. 243,264 ...................... 243,312 Paid and requested circulation ............ 243,264 ...................... 242,882 Total paid and requested circulation ... 243,264 ...................... 242,882 1) Free distribution by mail.......................... 160 .............................. 160 2) Free distribution outside mail ................. 809 .............................. 887 Total free distribution ................................... 969 ...........................1,047 Total distribution................................... 244,233 ...................... 244,359 Copies not distributed.......................................0 ...................................0 Total ....................................................... 244,233 ...................... 244,359 Percent paid and/or requested circ.......... 98.7% .......................... 99.7%
16. Publication of statement of ownership: November 2020 17. Signature and title of editor: Christine Dorr, editor
#micoopcommunity 6 BEST OF MICHIGAN: RESTAURANTS WITH A VIEW
These member-suggested restaurants pair a scenic Michigan view with quality cuisine.
10 MI COOP KITCHEN
Dips & Dressings—Jazz up your salads and appetizers with these zesty recipes.
Fall is officially in the air. @dlope.works (Destiny Lopez)
14 MAGIC MEETS THE MITTEN
Colon, Michigan, resident Rick Fisher helps ensure the town continues to be the “Magic Capital of the World.”
18 HOME HEATING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS 2020–2021
For those struggling to pay their bills this winter, there are many places to turn to for help.
MI CO-OP COMMUNITY
Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.
To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community
MI CO-OP KITCHEN
BEST OF MICHIGAN
Up Next: Stir Fry Favorites, Soup, Tacos Share your favorite recipes.
Up Next: Winter Fun! Tell us about your favorite winter activity location (downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, biking, ice skating, etc.)
Submit your fondest memories and stories.
Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo.
Win a $50 bill credit!
Win $150 for stories published!
Win a $50 bill credit! See page 7
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
cherrylandelectric.coop /cherrylandelectriccoop @cherrylandec BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Tom Van Pelt, President 231-386-5234 email@example.com
CO-OP NEWS Cherryland Retires $3 Million To Members In December Cherryland’s board voted to retire approximately $3 million in capital credits to the membership this December. This amount includes the passthrough of the retirement Cherryland will receive from its power supplier, Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, that same month. The amount retired to each member can be found on the December billing statements.
David Schweitzer, Senior Vice President 231-883-5860 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cherryland Cares Awards $7,000 To Two Nonprofits
Melinda Lautner, Treasurer 231-947-2509 email@example.com
The Cherryland Cares board is comprised of five volunteer Cherryland members. The funds distributed by Cherryland Cares are a result of members electing to round up their monthly bills to the nearest dollar.
Gabe Schneider, Secretary 517-449-6453 firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Lautner, Director 231-946-4623 email@example.com John Olson, Director 231-938-1228 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jon Zickert, Director 231-631-1337 email@example.com General Manager: Tony Anderson Co-op Editors: Rachel Johnson, Rob Marsh
OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.– 4 p.m. TELEPHONE NUMBERS 231-486-9200 or 1-800-442-8616 (Mich.) ADDRESS P.O. Box 298, Grawn, MI 49637 PAY STATION Cherryland Electric Cooperative office 5930 U.S. 31 South, Grawn MI, 49637 Cherryland Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
At its third-quarter board meeting, the Cherryland Cares board awarded grants to Acme Christian Thrift Store and Leelanau Christian Neighbors. Cherryland Cares has awarded $25,6000 in grants to area nonprofit agencies this year.
If you are an area nonprofit agency seeking financial help, fourth-quarter grant applications are due Friday, Dec. 11. For more information, please call Shannon Mattson at 231-486-9234 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cherryland Office Closed Over Holidays In observance of the holidays, the Cherryland office will be closed on the following dates: Thursday, Nov. 26, and Friday, Nov. 27, for Thanksgiving Thursday, Dec. 24, and Friday, Dec. 25, for Christmas Thursday, Dec. 31, and Friday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Line crews are on call to respond to any outages or emergencies. You can report an outage by texting OUT to 800-442-8616, logging into SmartHub, or by calling us at 231-486-9200. Visit our website’s Outage Center for more details.
Members May Dispose Of Christmas Trees At Cherryland Cherryland members are reminded that Christmas trees can be discarded at Cherryland’s office in Grawn. Trees can be dropped off on the right side of the Cherryland parking lot as you are driving in, just beyond where the two parking lots meet. This service is offered free to co-op members.
Last Chance To Receive Energy Efficiency Rebates For 2020 Members interested in making energy efficiency upgrades in their homes or businesses must have the measures purchased and installed prior to Dec. 31 to receive a rebate from the co-op. Upgrades performed after Dec. 31 are not eligible for 2020 rebates. If you have questions regarding rebates, visit our website or contact Tammy Haworth at 231-486-9261 or email@example.com.
4 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020
TICKING TO BLACK Tony Anderson, General Manager
lmost a year and a half ago, I wrote about the increasing stress on the grid due to increasing demand and retreating supply. Since then, there has been almost no new construction of power plants. During the heat of July and August 2020, we had another three maximum generation events on the regional grid. There was a time when three events in 10 years was rare. These “max gen” events call upon every available generator to put electricity into the grid over a 15-state region. These are generators of every fuel type, even antiquated but functional diesel peaking units. This summer, for the first time in its history, Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative generated more electricity than was used by the five distribution cooperatives it serves. Natural gas peaking designed to meet occasional high demand periods ran around the clock in July and August to support the regional grid that desperately needed resources to meet consumer needs. Wolverine has 200 MW of wind in its portfolio. In July 2020, when the power was needed the most, there was only enough wind for about 2 MW of energy. I don’t report this to disparage wind turbines. I report this to point out what is a common occurrence every July—there is very little wind. Fossil fuel generation like coal and natural gas are needed to keep the lights on. It is simply a fact. Well then, what about solar? Isn’t the sun always shining in July and August? The sun certainly does shine for a good part of the day, but demand is still high after sunset. Once again, the traditional generation is needed to generate
electricity when solar can’t deliver. Battery technology is coming along but far from utility-scale. So, what is going to happen? There are a number of simple options. The region needs to build more generation of all types. Large wind developers have been chased out of Michigan. This needs to stop, as does opposition to utilityscale solar. Clean energy advocates need to step up, find locations that work, and put in the effort necessary to bring large projects to fruition. Other utilities are planning for more natural gas generation. I expect this construction to ramp up over the next couple of years. Permitting for natural gas is a path of least resistance, and natural gas generators take up less real estate (the biggest complaint of large-scale wind and solar). In no scenario do I see our region moving away from a reliance on natural gas. What about the dirty old coal plants that are shutting down? Well, if we don’t build solar, wind and natural gas generation in large amounts and the grid needs power, we will see these old plants continue to operate. Yes, I can hear the screaming now. It will come from the same people who did nothing as anti-wind groups chased the large developers from Michigan. After energy conservation, our last resort will be to simply turn the lights out during periods of high demand. We call these “rolling blackouts.” California is seeing them in 2020. It frustrates me, but I think Michigan could see them within the next five years. Yes, I can’t believe I just typed that. It makes me sad. The clock is ticking, and it’s ticking to black.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
MI CO-OP Community
2 3 6 4 8
Best Of Michigan
RESTAURANTS WITH A VIEW 1
New Buffalo This gem of a restaurant is located in the Marina Grand Resort. There is scenic outside dining with great service and a great selection of delicious food and drinks. The atmosphere is light and airy, and you can feel a good energy. Jeff Dorr, Presque Isle bentwoodtavern.com
Stafford’s Pier Restaurant
Harbor Springs Dining during the summertime can be either inside or out on the terrace overlooking the municipal marina. Once a week, the Harbor Springs Concert Band plays on the lawn nearby to add to your dining experience. Stafford trains their staff well, and it shows! Mary Ennis, Great Lakes Energy staffordspier.com
Harbor Lights Grille
Carp Lake It’s like stepping back in time. They have wonderful food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and amazing homemade desserts. There is a beautiful lakeside view. The staff is very attentive and friendly. Rebecca Rhea, Great Lakes Energy harborlightsgrilleonthelake.com
Knot Just A Bar
Omena There are breathtaking views of the bay whether you’re on the beautiful deck or inside. They offer a great drink and food selection with fresh ﬂavors. Judy Skowronski, Cherryland knotjustabar.com
Tell us about your favorite winter activity location (downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, biking, ice skating, etc.) Submit your favorites at countrylines.com/ community by Jan. 25, and look for it in our February issue.
Clifford Lake Inn
Stanton They have amazing food, and their desserts are delicious! The views of Clifford Lake from the deck are gorgeous, especially during sunset. It has a relaxed vibe, and they are very friendly. Sometimes ﬂoatplanes will land or take off from the water, which is a treat to see! Jenna Irani, HomeWorks Tri-County cliffordlakeinn.net
Where In Michigan Is This? Win a
energy bill credit!
Petoskey This has a spectacular view of the bay, especially at sunset. Make sure you get a window seat to take in the unforgettable lake action while enjoying an exciting, eclectic menu. A customer favorite, the Forest Floor Soup, teeming with delectable mushrooms, never disappoints! The servers are knowledgeable and are always on point. Treat yourself to a relaxing meal overlooking Petoskey’s jewel. Mary Ennis, Great Lakes Energy palettebistropetoskey.com
Blue Lake Tavern
Mecosta This amazing place is a historic log cabin and sits above the lake. The view never fails and the food, service and atmosphere are all A+. I take people there during all Michigan seasons. Lonna Bear, HomeWorks Tri-County
Barrel Back Restaurant
Walloon Lake There’s delicious food and a great atmosphere, and it overlooks Walloon Lake. On nice days, they open the huge garage-style doors for open air dining and incredible views! Marlene Clark , Great Lakes Energy barrel-back.com
Identify the correct location of the photo above by November 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com.
September 2020 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Courtney Thompson, HomeWorks Tri-County Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Lavender Hill Farm in Boyne City. Photo by Jody Strang. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/ December.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
HOT OFF THE PRESS Co-op Headlines From 2020
Cherryland Gifts $2.5 Million To Membership In Special Credit
Co-op Responds To COVID-19 Pandemic F
or the first time in Cherryland’s history, the doors to the lobby were closed to the public, most personnel were instructed to work from home, and a long list of other safety measures was put in place to protect the employees and membership from the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing the burden the pandemic was having on the community, the co-op offered a variety of ways to help members struggling financially, including setting up payment arrangements, suspending late fees, and donating assistance funds to the Father Fred Foundation and ECHO His Love for members exclusively. While the co-op continued to monitor and react to the situation as it unfolded, Cherryland never strayed from its mission—to provide safe, reliable, and affordable electricity.
8 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020
t its August board meeting, the Cherryland board voted to give $2.5 million to the membership in a special, one-time credit, called the “Co-op Advantage Credit,” on its October bills. Due to increased residential energy sales, reemerging commercial sales, and other budgetary adjustments made during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cherryland’s revenues exceeded its budget. As a not-for-profit utility, excess revenues are eventually returned to the members. However, the co-op understood the immediate burden the pandemic has placed on the community. By distributing a portion of these revenues as a bill credit straightaway, the hope was to provide some immediate relief to the membership.
First EV Fast Charger Comes To Northern Michigan
I Annual Meeting Goes Virtual
n June, Cherryland hosted its first virtual Annual Meeting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
n July, Blain’s Farm & Fleet and Cherryland partnered to install the first DC Fast-Charge electric vehicle (EV) station in northern Michigan at the retailer’s US-31 location. Unlike most EV charging stations, the DC Fast-Charge station cuts charging time down by hours, delivering 60 to 80 miles of range
For decades, Cherryland members and employees have come together in June to enjoy some food and fun and to talk co-op business. This year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Annual Meeting consisted solely of a business meeting without inperson attendance. From the comfort of home, members watched and listened to the Annual Meeting live as they got updates about the co-op’s financials, witnessed the results of the board of directors election, and asked questions of board and staff.
in just 20 minutes of charging. By having this unique charger in northern Michigan, the hope is to stimulate the growing interest in EVs. The DC Fast-Charge station, along with a standard Level 2 station also installed at Blain’s, are available for public use.
up-to-date information about an outage affecting them, as well as report outages with a simple text from their mobile phones.
Co-op Introduces Outage Text Alerts
t the beginning of 2020, Cherryland rolled out two-way text alerts as another way to communicate with the co-op during outages. Members can receive
In the first six months, members sent over 4,600 texts to the co-op either reporting outages or asking for status updates. In return, the co-op sent nearly 118,000 texts including outage locations, estimated durations, and restoral confirmations. For more information about outage text alerts and to sign up, visit cherrylandelectric.coop/outage.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
MI CO-OP Recipes
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey
DIPS & DRESSINGS Complement your meals with these unique recipes.
RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE Tracy Fisher, Thumb Electric
1 ¹⁄ ³ 2 ¼ 1 ½ 1 Win a
energy bill credit!
Stir-Fry Favorites due December 1 • Soups due January 1 Tacos due February 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Go to micoopkitchen.com for more information.
10 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020
cup frozen raspberries, thawed cup olive or canola oil tablespoons lemon juice cup white vinegar tablespoon honey cup sugar (add to taste) tablespoon poppy seeds
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This vinaigrette goes great with a strawberry spinach salad. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos
BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP Laura Campbell, HomeWorks Tri-County
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (or riced cauliﬂower for vegetarian option) 8 ounces cream cheese ½ cup of favorite buffalo sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot) ½ cup ranch dressing ½ cup shredded mozzarella Add all ingredients to a slow cooker. Set to high heat, stirring occasionally, until all ingredients are blended/melted (about 1–2 hours). Then set to warm heat while serving. Serve with celery and tortilla chips. You can adjust the ranch to buffalo sauce ratio depending on your preferred spiciness level.
GRANDDAUGHTER’S FAVORITE DIP June Dougherty, Great Lakes Energy 2 1 1 1 •
(8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened package ranch dressing (8 ounce) can corn, drained small red pepper, chopped black olives, chopped (amount to your liking)
Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!
LEMON VINAIGRETTE Laura Burke, Great Lakes Energy ¼ 1 1 ¼ ¼ ½
cup fresh lemon juice teaspoon dijon mustard large clove garlic, minced teaspoon salt teaspoon freshly ground black pepper cup vegetable oil
Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Gradually add oil in a steady stream, whisking until blended. Toss with green salad or pasta salad.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Fuel Mix Report
The fuel mix characteristics of Cherryland Electric Cooperative as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ending 06/30/20.
Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Fuel source
Your co-op’s fuel mix
Regional average fuel mix
Solid Waste Incineration
NOTE: Biomass excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas; and wind includes a long-term renewable purchase power contract in Wolverine’s mix.
Your Board In Action September Board Meeting • The board voted to retire $3 million in capital credits to the membership this December. This amount is partially a passthrough of the retirement Cherryland will receive from its power supplier, Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, that same month. • Zach Anderson, CFO of Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, gave a presentation to the board regarding proposed changes to its wholesale rate schedule. The board accepted its proposed rate changes and endorsed its decision to file the schedule before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). • The co-op’s member relations manager gave an update regarding Cherryland’s advocacy efforts and recent meetings and events with various local and state representatives. Members have the opportunity to provide input to the board prior to any regularly scheduled board meeting. To have your comments included in a monthly board packet for review, please submit them to Board Assistant Secretary Shannon Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org a minimum of three business days before the monthly board meeting.
Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix
Regional Average Fuel Mix
Be Safe Around Transformers This Winter
Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh
Type Of Emission/Waste
Oxides of Nitrogen
High-level Nuclear Waste
* Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/19. Cherryland purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.
12 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020
Are you breaking out your snow plow for another wintry season? Before you do, please be mindful of the padmounted transformers in your area. As snow piles up, it’s easy to forget where those big green boxes are. Accidentally plowing over a snow-blanketed transformer can be very expensive and dangerous (like 7,200 volts dangerous!). Before plowing this winter, take note of the location of your transformer or, just in case, stick a marker nearby, so you never forget. Remember, safety first!
Co-op employees were tasked with trimming back overgrowth along the trail.
Jason, along with his fellow volunteers, cleaned up the TART Trail from Hastings Street to the end of Five Mile Road.
Co-op Employees Volunteer To Clean Up TART Trail I
Dustin takes a break from linework to participate in the United Way Day of Caring.
n September, as part of United Way of Northwest Michiganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day of Caring, Cherryland employees gave their time and talents to helping TART Trails clean up a section of its trail in Traverse City.
Armed with gloves, trash bags, and clippers, volunteers worked their way along the trail from Hastings Street to the north end of Five Mile Road, picking up garbage and trimming back overgrown branches and brush. Not only was it nice to get out of the office for a day, but our volunteers also enjoyed the opportunity to gather together safely and lend a hand to a worthy cause.
Does the Day of Caring sound fun to you and your organization? Learn how you can volunteer at www.unitedwaynwmi.org.
Lori enjoys the bay view while picking up trash along Five Mile Road.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13
TTEN I M E H MEETS T By Emily Haines Lloyd
any small towns in rural Michigan are quaintly magical. But in the tiny hamlet of Colon (population 1,100-ish), magical is more than an adjective, it’s a way of life.
The history of Colon’s relationship with magic goes back to the Roaring ‘20s, when famed magician Harry Blackstone Sr. (who was on par with Houdini and Thurston) did as many Chicago entertainers did in the sweltering city summers—escaped to cooler climates, like Michigan’s lake communities. Blackstone’s wife was the one who happened upon the 220-acre plot of land that they would eventually call home. The entire Blackstone troupe traveled to the other side of Lake Michigan and settled on what the magician called Blackstone Island (though not technically an island) on Sturgeon Lake to work up the coming year’s act. “It was in the late ‘20s that Blackstone met an Australian magician, Percy Abbott, and invited him to visit Colon,” recalls FAB Magic Company owner Rick Fisher. “The two built the Blackstone Magic Co. Eventually, Abbott met a local girl, got married, and stayed behind and tended to the business.” The partnership was beset with drama equal to their own acts, and the two magicians parted ways as business partners, though both remained in Colon—rumored never to have spoken to one another again. Abbott renamed the magic shop Abbott Magic Novelty Co. in 1933 and the draw kept magicians, and those with magic addictions, coming to explore its wonders, with many of them staying on themselves. Lester Lake, also known as The Great Marvello, was one of them. He was known for his wild escapes, including one from chains while engulfed in ﬂames in the middle of the road in downtown Colon. With so many folks visiting from the industry and many of them sticking
“ I W AN T TO K E E P TH AT EX C IT EM E N T G O IN G FO R AS LO N G AS I’M AB LE . B EC AU SE IF W E DO N ’T TAK E C AR E O F TH E M AG IC — IT R E ALLY C O U LD DISAP P E AR .”
around, Lake coined Colon “The Magic Capital of the World.” It was in 1991 that the small town was ﬁnally recognized ofﬁcially by former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin. Decades later, it was Fisher’s turn to fall in love with the magic of Colon. “My family owned a lake cottage in Columbus City, and we visited Abbott’s when I was 7,” recalls Fisher. “I was hooked.” Each summer, Fisher would save money from mowing lawns, beg for a ride to the magic shop, and buy a new trick. His mother was given some leftover fabric and sewed the ﬁrst tuxedo for her precocious son.
Fisher has high hopes to keep the magic alive in the future too, even as the industry itself faces difﬁcult times. One of the largest magic manufacturers out of California actually closed its doors recently. A looming sadness that Fisher hopes the Magic Capital of the World can avoid. “I’m lucky to see the faces of the families and especially the youngsters as they look around the shop. There’s so much possibility. So much excitement,” said Fisher. “I want to keep that excitement going for as long as I’m able. Because if we don’t take care of the magic—it really could disappear.” For more information, visit magiccapitaloftheworld.com or call 269-432-4017.
The childhood hobby became a lifelong obsession. While always keeping magic near and performing on the road, Fisher also lived your average life as a sales representative, father of four, and loving husband. However, after a hospital stay in 2002 due to a blocked artery, Fisher found himself with time to think and came to the realization that the future isn’t promised. He told his wife Cheryl he wanted to start a magic shop in Colon. “I told Cheryl we should do it. Buy a shop. Luckily, she agreed,” Fisher said. “I mean, it’s never been easy, but we’ve never looked back.” FAB Magic Shop and Abbott’s Magic Co., as well as Sterlini Magic Mfg. and Theater, are all still in business and participate in an annual magic festival the ﬁrst week of August each year. Even COVID-19 was no match for the ultimate illusion of normalcy, as a socially-distanced ﬂea market with booths and shows still made its way to Colon’s streets. Over 150 people turned out, not sure if the magic would show up at all. But the community is always up for the next trick. That’s what Fisher loves about his adopted hometown. Colon is as quirky as it is quaint, with banners along Main Street calling it the “Magic Capital of the World” and the high school giving its mascot—a rabbit—the name of “Hare E. Blackstone.” There’s also the Magic Walk of Fame along East State Street and over 35 magicians buried in the town’s cemetery. The town’s history is rooted in magic. “Magic has put Colon on the map,” said Fisher. “You can talk to almost anyone in the magic industry from anywhere in the world and they’ve heard of Colon.”
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Most votes on Facebook!
Pets 1. “Lou Lou and her pup, Sadie” by Amanda Schram 2. “Maisy Mae in a Pure Michigan winter” by Madison Thomas 3. “Sisters” by Karen Riley
4. “Roxy in the wildflowers” by Sandy Hansen 5. “All this puppy play wears me out!” by Jamie Tornga 6. “Tuxedo Sphinx pose” by Amy Truchan 7. “I am Sir Henry Pickles” by Cathy Dieken 8. “Bantam chick, Little Peeper” by Robert Lenox 9. “My basset, Annabelle” by Misha Barney 10. “Sweet dreams” by Judy Balog
Enter to win a $200 energy bill credit! Submit Your “Cutest Couples” Photos! Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites.
Our Nov./Dec. theme is Cutest Couples. Photos can be submitted through December 20 to be featured in our February 2021 issue.
Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit! To enter the contest, visit cherrylandelectric. coop/photo-contest or visit facebook.com/ cherrylandelectriccoop and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2021, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2021 bill.
16 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020
Home Heating Assistance Programs 2020-2021 Season Winter Protection Plan
Contact: Your Local Utility Company
Income Guidelines 2019–2020 # in Household 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
150% Poverty Guide Maximum Income $19,140 25,860 32,580 39,300 46,020 52,740 59,460 66,180
Add $6,720 for each additional member.
Home Heating Credit
The Winter Protection Plan (WPP) protects enrolled seniors and low-income customers from service shut-offs and high utility bill payments during the winter months. If you are eligible, your utility service will remain on (or restored with the WPP) from Nov. 1 through March 31, if you: • pay at least 7% of your estimated annual bill each month, and • make equal monthly payments between the date you apply and the start of the next heating season on any past due bills. When the protection period ends (March 31), you must begin to pay the full monthly bill, plus part of the amount you owe from the winter months when you did not pay the full bill. Participation does not relieve customers from the responsibility of paying for electricity and natural gas usage, but does prevent shut-off during winter months. You qualify for the plan if you meet at least one of the
following requirements: • are age 65 or older, • receive Dept. of Health and Human Services cash assistance, including SSI, • receive Food Assistance, • receive Medicaid, or • household income is at or below the 150% of poverty level shown in the Income Guidelines chart at left. Senior citizen customers who participate in the WPP are not required to make specific payments to ensure that their service will not be shut off between Nov. 1 and March 31. Service for seniors can be restored without any payments. Note: All customers 65+ are eligible regardless of income. Customers are responsible for all electricity and natural gas used. At the end of the protection period, participants must make arrangements with their utility company to pay off any money owed before the next heating season.
You can apply for a Home Heating Credit for the 2019 tax year if you meet the income guidelines listed at left (110% of poverty level) or you qualify based on alternate guidelines including household income, exemptions, and heating costs. Additional exemptions are available for seniors, disabled claimants, or claimants with 5% or more of their income from unemployment compensation.
If you qualify, you may receive assistance to help pay for your winter heating bills. Forms are available mid-to-late January wherever tax forms are provided or from the Michigan Dept. of Treasury (517-636-4486 or michigan.gov/treasury). The Home Heating Credit claim form must be filed with the Michigan Dept. of Treasury no later than Sept. 30 each year.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families who meet certain requirements and file a tax return. Those who qualify will owe less in taxes and may get a refund. Even a person who does not generally owe income tax may qualify for the EITC, but must file a tax return to do so. If
married, you must file jointly to qualify. File Form 1040 or 1040A and attach the EITC.
State Emergency Relief Program (SER)
You do not have to be a DHHS client to apply for help with a past due bill, shut-off notice, or the need for deliverable fuel through the SER. This program, available Nov. 1–May 31, provides most of its utility assistance during this crisis season. However, limited assistance is available outside the crisis season.
If you receive a DHHS cash grant, you may use part of it toward heat and electric bills. Contact your local DHHS or call the Home Heating Hotline, 855-275-6424.
Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program
You may be able to receive help with weatherizing your home to reduce energy use if you meet low-income eligibility guidelines (200% of poverty guidelines) or if you participate in the Dept. of Health and Human Services Family Independence
Program or receive SSI. Weatherization may include caulking, weatherstripping, and insulation. Contact your local Community Action Agency for details. Visit mcaaa.org to find one in your area.
2-1-1 is a free phone service operating 24 hours daily to provide information about help that may be available in a
particular area with utilities and other needs. Dial 2-1-1 or visit mi211.org to find available services.
Medical Emergency Protection Contact: Local Utility Company
You are protected from service shut-off for nonpayment of your natural gas and/or electric bill for up to 21 days, possibly extending to 63 days, if you have a proven medical emergency.
You must provide written proof from a doctor or a public health or social services official that a medical condition exists. Contact your gas or electric utility for details.
Shut-off Protection For Military Active Duty
If you or your spouse has been called into active military duty, you may apply for shut-off protection from your electric or natural gas service for up to 90 days. You may request
extensions. You must still pay, but contact your utility company and they will help you set up a payment plan.
Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Emergency Grant Program
The Trust Fund provides temporary assistance to veterans and their families facing a financial emergency or hardship,
including the need for energy assistance. Contact the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund at 517-284-5299 or michiganveterans.com.
Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) includes services that will enable participants to become self-sufficient, including assisting participants in paying their energy bills on time, budgeting for and contributing to their ability to provide for energy expenses, and being energy efficient. Shut-off protection is provided Nov. 1–April 15 for all residential
customers. The MEAP is supported by the state’s Low Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF). An electric utility that chooses not to collect for the LIEAF shall not shut off service to customers for nonpayment between Nov. 1 and April 15. For a list of electric providers that opt out of collecting the LIEAF, go to michigan.gov/energygrants.
Contact: Michigan Dept. of Treasury # Exemp.
0–1 2 3
$14,036 18,964 23,892
4 5 6
$28,820 33,748 38,676
Add $4,928 for each exemption over 6.
Earned Income Credit
Contact: • U.S. Treasury Dept., Internal Revenue Service, irs.gov/EITC • Michigan Dept. of Treasury, michigan.gov/treasury
Contact: Local Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS), michigan.gov/mdhhs
Contact: Local Community Action Agency
Contact: Call 2-1-1 or UWmich.org/2-1-1
Contact: Local Utility Company
You may claim a Michigan earned income tax credit for tax year 2020 equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which you are eligible.
Contact: MI Veterans Trust Fund
MI Energy Assistance Program Contact: Utility or 2-1-1 in late November
18 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020
Dial 2-1-1 for more information on heating and other human services programs.
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control your COMFORT There’s a lot you can’t control, but you can
TO CA DA LL Y!
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